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Friday Five!

Friday Five2

The exclamation point is for hope.

I enjoy seeing stories like the ones below. We may not like the hand we’ve been dealt *cough*dealtourselves*cough* but I like stories about people doing something other than just throwing their hands in the air.

  1. Joaquin Castro may run against Cruz. That would be exciting.
  2. Stephen Colbert is funding every existing grant request on DonorsChoose.org  made by South Carolina teachers.
  3. Since DeVos is going to be Secretary of Education, people who don’t like that are running for their local school boards.
  4. Biden’s daughter is making hoodies and I’ve never wanted a hoodie more.
  5. I want to do this to the entire state of Texas – cool off without using refrigerants.

Bonus – in case you’ve ever wanted to hear a conversation between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde (and if you haven’t, you should. You should want this) – here you go.

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Friday Five2

When blowhards get loud (as is their way, I suppose), I find myself wondering what they’re trying to do quietly. I stumbled across a couple of things. This week’s reading also seemed to highlight specific actions that Texans can take/call about and advice about what to do if you are stopped by an ICE officer.

  1. For one thing, they’re trying to leave the UN again. This bill was tried and defeated before in 2015, but these are somewhat different times, so this is concerning.
  2. Although they would have us believe that the current president’s National Security Council is business as usual, NPR breaks it down by actually comparing the documents. You know…as one does when one wants to compare/contrast with accuracy.
  3. If you live in Texas and you support freedom of religion, here is a petition you can sign. Also,one thing most of us in Texas do agree on is that we hate the STAAR test. Call your state representatives and voice your support for this bill.
  4. The National Immigration Law Center gives helpful advice to anyone who is approached by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers on the street or in their home.
  5. Speaking of weekly reading, here’s a good start for your weekly reading for Black History Month, compiled by Austin Channing Brown.

 

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When all else fails, raid the recycling bin.

January was intense. A lot has happened in our world and to my friends this month. While I have been active and keeping informed, I’ve also enjoyed some downtime.

Books

This month, I finished up some books I had started and read another book by someone who is becoming one of my favorite authors.

I enjoyed The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (Cron and Stabile). That is, I enjoyed it after reading the part about Ones, which I am now 97% certain I am. I can’t really call my experience through that chapter “enjoyment,” but it was helpful.

My favorite book I’ve read this month is Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. I have a whole separate post planned about this book, but for now I want to talk about this author. I love his characters and how he develops them. I need to buy all of his books and study them with fervor. I want to write characters that well.

TV

This is Us. I am firmly seated on this bandwagon. Stupid awesome show. It makes me cry and cry. I love  them all, but Randall is my favorite. Also, I am happy to see Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley throwing off shirts again. I support this.

I’ve also been on a superhero kick (I mean…even more than usual). So clearly I am rewatching/binge-watching Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Smallville. For some reason, I see the need for heroes these days. And by heroes, I do mean Cat Grant, Iris West, and Felicity Smoak.

Life

I had…fun? That’s not exactly it. I had moderate anxiety and the tiniest of panic attacks graciously buffered by camaraderie and humor and overwhelming kindness and the joy of seeing both old and new friends at the Women’s Rally/March in Denton. I enjoyed lunch and dinner with friends to talk about it, and my hope was given a little boost by those conversations.

My parents visited last weekend. We ate a lot, and my mom and I watched romantic comedies, and before they went home, my friend Margarett brought them a puppy to take with them. His name is Butch, and he is corgi/shepherd, and he has got that whole puppy eyes thing down. I’m sure there will be pictures aplenty in the months and years to come.

I’ve taken up my seasonal knitting habit again. It’s so calming. This year, I’m obsessed with blankets. If you visit, I might try to pawn one off on you. Many of them will be going to supplement the United Methodist Church’s donations to homeless shelters, because how many blankets do I really need? I am currently working on one in blues and grays that will act as a bedspread:

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Writing

I totally skipped my January newsletter this month, but I had something to share at my Mastermind group, so there’s that. I am working on about four very different projects. I think I can finally admit that having several projects going at once is the key to my sticking with a writing schedule and ever getting anything done. I am exhausted, exhilarated, and happy.

What I'm Into button

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – hop over, read what others are into, and share your own post!

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Friday Five2

I got sucked into the Internet this week, and I was not my best self. It will surprise no one here that I have many opinions with lots of passion and intensity, and that’s why I don’t Facebook actively because as it turns out, people are not so much persuaded by being overwhelmed as they are driven to drink and binge-watch on the Netflix while avoiding my texts.

Ahem.

To that end, the first two links I have are some tips on being in spaces with people who get your dander up (like me, perhaps) and how to do the work of getting past all of that and still have meaningful conversations.

  • How to Survive in Intersectional Feminist Spaces 101 via CrossKnit – This is a great place to start if you read the title of the post and said, “What do those words mean?” or if you have a negative view of what those words mean to you. It’s also a great refresher and reminder to those of us who think we know everything. Keeps us humble. Also, her follow-up post makes me howl with a weird mix of respect for her for owning up to things that people confronted her with, self-recognition, humility, glee, gratitude, and inspiration.
  • How to be a friend to the LGBTQIA+ community – from GLAAD and from Carlos Maza via the Washington Post archives. Absolutely engage in these behaviors yourself. But if you see other people engaging in these behaviors and your behavior gets called out as a result, know that it’s not really about you but rather their desire to support and defend people they see being mistreated.

More things for your reading enjoyment/thought provocation/action-taking:

  • Obama via The New England Journal of Medicine discusses the dangers and irresponsibility of repealing the ACA without something workable to replace it.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates via The Atlantic – My President was Black.
  • DeVos is not a suitable candidate for Secretary of Education. Here are a list of Senators who are key in making a decision on DeVos on Tuesday (first numbers are their local offices; 202 numbers are their D.C. offices). If your senator is listed, give them a call, but if not, call one of the others:Susan Collins (ME) 207.622.8414; 202.224.2523
    Lamar Alexander (TN) 615.736.5129; 202.224.4944
    Lisa Murkowski (AK) 907.586.7277; 202.224.6665
    Johnny Isakson (GA) 770.661.0999; 202.224.3643
    Orrin Hatch (UT) 801.524.4380; 202.224.5251
    Richard Burr (NC) 336.631.5125; 202.224.3154; 910.251.1058; 828.350.2437
    Michael Enzi (WY) 202.224.3424
    Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) 202.224.5824
    Pat Roberts (KS) 202.224.4774
    Tim Scott (SC) 202.224.6121
    Rand Paul (KY) 202.224.4343

And a bonus post for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, including a remembrance of how it all started.

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Friday Five2

“Five” is more of a guideline, really.

Because I believe in reaching beyond limits and breaking all manner of ceilings, I’m not going to limit my links this week to five. I believe we can all benefit from going beyond our limits today (and also tomorrow…and for the next four years…). Going beyond our limits and doing and being more is something it would be good for us all to learn to practice.

Things I saved from the Internet this week:

  1. Happy birthday to Michelle Obama on Tuesday. BookBub lists five books she has mentioned loving, because reading and knowledge are power. And I love people who read to kids. This year, I want to follow her example. Reading to children is the only thing I miss from working daycare.
  2. Off the Shelf compiled a similar list of what has been on Barack Obama’s bookshelf.
  3. Ann Patchett wrote a touching goodbye tribute to the Obamas.
  4. My friend Bola has created a character that I can’t wait to see on the screen. A black mermaid? Yes, please. Follow The Water Phoenix on Facebook.
  5. I am not your Teachable Moment – from Everyday Feminism.
  6. Dallas is getting a new independent bookstore – Interabang Books, coming in May!
  7. Another reason to get a piano – studying/playing music is linked to increased civic engagement, improved reading comprehension, and better math skills. While I am firmly in the camp that believes that defending the study of music because it’s good for other things is “like defending kissing because it gives you stronger lip muscles for eating soup neatly,” I also recognize that it is good for other things. And we may need it to be good for other things…
  8. …because Betsy DeVos. Tell your senators no. Here are some ways.

And my favorite thing I’ve read this week – it’s long, but so worth it. To Obama, With Love, and Hate, and Desperation.

Edited to add – my friend Jamie Wright Bagley has a poetry e-course that is up on her website. It’s free, but it’s only available for a limited time. You want to do it!

 

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This is my favorite running shirt. I approve of anything that is simultaneously a Firefly fandom squee and a notification that I aim to kick ass.

As my one word for 2016, true has been brutal. Part of this brutality is that I thought it would be easy.

I’ll just pause a moment for everyone who knew better to stop laughing.

It hasn’t all been terrible. I have fine-tuned my life significantly to form it into something that is truer to who I am. That part has been invigorating. In some ways, I am significantly more at home in my life than I was a year ago.

All this change has been uncomfortable, however. I have discovered the sharp edges of certain aspects of myself that were only hazy forms in the back of my mind before, and they’re not all pretty. Some are upsetting. I’m not as honest with myself as I would have liked to think I was. Admitting that things are true about me that I desperately want not to be true is disheartening. And the process of deciding what to do with these realizations has been excruciating. It’s not finished, but I wish it were.

I’ve been reading through The Road Back to You for the last couple of months, and I wish I’d read it at the beginning of the year. I’m a One. I am a perfectionist and pretty hard on myself. True is the calling of the Ones – for our principles to 1) be high and right and 2) be congruent with our behavior/life/outcomes. The cognitive dissonance often created by this pursuit (as, alas, we are not perfect) is very stressful to us.

Stress is anger-making (although we prefer to call it “frustration”). It’s no wonder, therefore, that Ones are part of the Anger Triad (or as a friend affectionately calls it, the Chaos Trio). Rather than feeling the guilt I would have expected when I read this, I felt relief. It offered an explanation for my anger rather than the condemnation I’m used to receiving for it. It also confirmed my choice for my one word for 2017 – wild.

This coming year, I’m going to embrace the wild.

Wild is a natural progression from the last few years of beauty and fun and true. Wild encompasses them all and sets them free. That is exactly the kind of year I’d like to have. That is exactly the kind of year I insist on having, despite whatever effort the world might have to squelch it.

Wild abandon – I want to learn to hold resources, such as money and time, more loosely. I don’t want to treat them irresponsibly or in a way that is destructive, but  I could stand to regard them less fearfully. I want to develop a practice of derailment. Half of what stresses me out when the news is especially terrible is how it derails my whole life. I even toyed momentarily with the notion of not reading so much news, but then I promptly dismissed said notion, because I know I’d be doing so in order to hide, thus thwarting my ability to be informed about how to pursue justice. So instead I want to embrace the derailment. To thrive within it. To stop worrying so much about it. And to definitely stop apologizing for it.

Wild survival – Wild things are obsessed with staying alive. They are acutely aware of dangers and how to avoid them. I want to pay closer attention to my survival instinct. I want to resist laziness and continue pursuing my health goals that I set last March. I want to take care of myself emotionally instead of ignoring warning signs until they become so tangible that they become a detriment to my well-being and productivity.

Wild liberation – My word for the year could just as easily be “free.” With all that threatens to oppress in this world, I want to be a force pushing in the opposite direction. I imagine this upcoming year will present many opportunities to do so.

This is just the beginning, but I am excited (and also terrified…three parts excited to one part terrified isn’t a bad ratio) to see what this year of wild brings.

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Friday Five2

Maybe “fun” is pushing it, but I found things inspiring/entertaining/informative this week.

  1. Liberal redneck comedy – I have mixed feelings, as I do with most comedy. It’s hard to deliberately step on one toe and miss the others. For example, it’s apparently difficult to pigeonhole and ridicule people who aren’t in favor of transgender bathrooms without demeaning women’s bodies by calling said people “pussies.” It’s challenging to fight one stereotype by using other stereotypes. It’s hard to be funny when you have to be careful. But I recognize what they’re trying to do, and I support the effort. Maybe. We’ll see.
  2. The veterans at the Standing Rock celebration ceremony – I love this so much. Just watch/read.
  3. Ask the electors – The electoral college doesn’t have to play nice with decisions they consider to be bad. Do with that what you will.
  4. Speaking of people regretting decisions – Trumpgrets.  You know what IS funny? People creating accidental humor by being themselves and the people who collect these gems. And recognizing a mistake when it’s too late to correct it…or is it (see #3)?
  5. The J. Peterman Catalog – I want to add this to my collection of things to read aloud at parties. Hilarious.

What have you enjoyed this week?

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